Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich
Greetings loyal readers,
It's been a while since I've told a story about my rookie adventures in this fine industry of ours. It's probably going to be a while longer too, since this post is really more of a convoluted philosophical observation than an interesting coherent narrative. Don't worry though, I'll work in some jokes in about pyromania or checkerboards to keep things punchy (you scoff, but let me tell you, I can tell a checkerboard joke like no other).
So, to begin my story, I was watching footage of a video-game tournament in Korea (shut up guys, my girlfriend had work all weekend and I really didn't feel like doing my taxes. I promise I did like 20 manly things afterwards, including, but not limited to: push-ups, fighting a guy I didn't like and building a shelf) and in the audience, which was about the size of a full large movie theater, many people had those BamBam sticks, happily clacking them together, cheering for the camera, generally expressing their excitement for televised video-game competition.
I don't think they were actually BamBams, as they didn't have the little fins on the top and bottom edges, but I don't know what else to call them. Inflatable noisemaker balloon sticks? Clappa-doodles? Blammo-rods? I can see myself moving off topic here. Let's readjust.
The point that as soon as I saw the BamBam-esque devices, my first thought was, "Huh. I wonder if BamBams sells to distributors in Korea. I wonder if it's a big market for them, or is there a Bizarro BamBams in Korea that sells to that country?"
My next thought was "Man, it's the weekend and you're trying your best to be irresponsible, all eatin' candy and watching video games. Why are you thinking about work in a way that‘s not, ‘Man, I‘m glad I‘m not at work?'"
About then is when I had this crystallizing Being John Malkovich moment. You know the scene where Malkovich takes the tunnel into his own head, and then every person, every sound and every word is Malkovich? I was sort of feeling like that, except with less of John Cusack's whining, and more of seeing promotional products everywhere (If you're not familiar, I recommend YouTube-ing "The scene with all the Malkoviches").
I should qualify this by saying that I know to an extent, everyone's perception is shaped by their job, but I've never had one that pulls back the curtain as much as working here has. I mean, I recognize makes of pens in restaurant bill folders, banks and doctors' offices. I know who made the magnetic clip on my refrigerator. I think about things like how my high-school wrestling lanyard is one of my most treasured possessions, or if someone in our industry is the one who sells things like Frisbees and temporary tattoos to cereal companies or Cracker Jack.
Basically, I see promotional products everywhere, where before I didn't give imprinted items a second thought. And not only that, but I immediately have to judge their effectiveness and form a little opinion about each product. Example: the business card/tape measure a contractor gave me as a leave-behind is great, but the terrible pens my bank gives out just raise my blood pressure and make me hate my bank.
I guess I'm writing all this because I'm curious if others have, or are experiencing this drawn-back curtain of "Man, what doesn't have a logo on it?" Feel free to respond via comment on this post, though if you like, you can also send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be interested to hear other anecdotes on the subject.
TEASER FOR NEXT WEEK: I have a bunch of things on the back burner, but rather than mention them here, and have myself change my mind by next Monday, I think we should take a minute to think about our favorite dinosaurs. If you chose Stegosaurus, you are off to a good start.
CHARLES PLYTER FACT OF THE WEEK: Two Fridays ago, the office was pretty empty, and Charlie and I spent a portion of lunch watching demolition across the street. They were using an actual wrecking ball, which was pretty cool. Our building is 12 stories up, and we have these huge windows that scope out a good portion of the city, so we had a pretty good view.